PBS Board Member William Murchison
rebuts the impudent secularism of our time
and reflects on the legal defeat of Governor Cuomo of New York
in the Supreme Court in an article just published
William Murchison argues that unjust treatment of churches in lockdowns shows just how disordered our priorities are when now of all times we should turn to God, in community.
The most striking aspect for Murchison of the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision, disallowing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s attempt to limit lawful attendance at places of worship, for the claimed reason of limiting the spread of COVID, was not the infringement of the First Amendment, or even that the move had little impact on the virus, but that religious leaders had to bring the case at all!
There were ways to hand by which the challenges related to worship attendance could have been readily addressed, such as simply limiting numbers proportionately to the capacity of the space. But such possibilities were simply ignored by the New York legislature as it limited attendance to a maximum of 25 in a place of worship when the code was orange, and 10 when the signal turned red. Thus, in the words of one commentator, did New York simply take “a blunderbuss… to a constitutionally protected activity.”
Secular America clearly feels that prayer to God for relief in the face of calamity is unimportant as compared with other social goods. This is very new in America. This lack of status given to God as well as prayer to God, by those in positions of authority, must not pass without notice, as it sets aside the particularly American legacy of history in which the practice of religion has from the first until now always been taken seriously
The Mayflower Compact, whose 400th anniversary Christians has only recently observed, made clear that the early Pilgrims “Having undertaken [their voyage] for the glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country,” were henceforth forged “into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation…”
What that compact stood for was God and government, not simply a path towards submission to an Andrew Cuomo. Petitioning God was clearly seen as bearing a useful and worthy relationship to the purposes of the country.
The words from the Book of Common Prayer still resonate: “O most mighty and merciful God, in this time of grievous sickness, we flee unto thee for succor. Deliver us, we beseech thee, from our peril; give strength and skill to all who minister to the sick; prosper the means made use of for their cure…” They bespeak a devotion that has anchored civilization since before the fall of the Roman Empire
Yet, for all that we may not see as clearly now as America once did, being now amidst a rising tide of secularism and its “Nones” who say that, they are without religious affiliation, William Murchison argues that the fact remains that the Scriptures endure. They are still extraordinarily widely known, read and quoted. He remains convinced that a strong, compelling recovery and witness lies ahead for American Christianity since, “The Lord is demonstrably a tough and persistent customer”.
To read the article
Cuomo Sees No Place For God In Crisis
which was published in the American Conservative on 9th December, use this link
William Murchison is a nationally syndicated columnist and author, most recently, of
The Cost of Liberty: The Life of John Dickinson.
For a topic related article in the Church Times :